Sara and John say...
From near-jungle to desert, the varied climate of Mali depends largely on distance from the equator.
The vast and largely uninhabited north sits within the Sahara Desert. Rainfall is restricted to a few showers, mostly between June and September; then the rest of the year is essentially dry.
Although ‘hot’ is a suitable year-round description, winter-time is notably cooler, with daytime temperatures sitting in the mid to high 20s Celsius, compared with the 40s in summer. However, it’s a dry heat in the desert for much of the year, and nights do cool off markedly under the clear sky. The desert wind, or ‘Harmattan’ can reduce visibility markedly, especially in the winter months.
Further south across Mali, the wet season is longer, in response to higher humidities. The rains in Timbuktu are heavier than further north and set in around June, not relenting until early October.
Southernmost areas of the country have an even more restricted dry season, with only the months of December to February guaranteed to be dry. Temperatures do not reach the scorching highs found in the desert further north. However, the 30-degree year-round temperatures are accompanied by higher humidity, with the nights particularly sticky through the wetter summer months.
Sunscreen is a ‘must’, whatever the time of year in Mali.